Neha Patil (Editor)

School counselor

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School counselor

A school counselor, also commonly known as a guidance counselor, is a counselor and an educator who works in elementary, middle, and/or high schools to provide academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social competencies to all K-12 students through a school counseling program.


Duties and functions

The four main school counseling program interventions used include: school counseling core curriculum classroom lessons and annual academic, career/college readiness, and personal/social planning for every student; and group and individual counseling for some students. School counseling is an integral part of the education system in large numbers of countries and in others it is emerging as a critical support for elementary, middle, and high school learning and/or student health concerns.

An outdated term for the profession was guidance counselor; school counselor is preferred due to school counselors' role in advocating for every child's academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social success in every elementary, middle, and high school. In the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific, some countries with no formal school counseling programs use teachers or psychologists to do school counseling with a primary emphasis on career development.

Countries vary in how a school counseling program and services are provided based on economics (funding for schools and school counseling programs), social capital (independent versus public schools), and school counselor certification and credentialing movements in education departments, professional associations, and national and local legislation. In 2013, school counseling is established in 62 countries and emerging in another seven.

An international scoping project on school-based counseling showed school counseling is mandatory in 39 countries, 32 USA states, one Australian state, 3 German states, 2 countries in the United Kingdom, and three provinces in Canada. The largest accreditation body for Counselor Education/School Counseling programs is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). International Counselor Education programs are accredited through a CACREP affiliate, the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs (IRCEP).

In some countries, school counseling is provided by school counseling specialists (for example, Botswana, China, Finland, Israel, Malta, Nigeria, Romania, Taiwan, Turkey, United States). In other cases, school counseling is provided by classroom teachers who either have such duties added to their typical teaching load or teach only a limited load that also includes school counseling activities (for example- India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Zambia). The IAEVG focuses primarily on career development with some international school counseling articles and conference presentations.

Both the IAEVG and the Vanguard of Counsellors have promoted school counseling internationally.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the post-Soviet Psychologists of Armenia together with the Government started developing the institution of School Counselor within Armenian Schools.


While the national policy is supportive of school counseling, only one Australian state requires it. The school counselor to student ratio ranges from 1: 850 in the Australian Capital Territory to 1:18,000 in the state of Tasmania. School counselors play an integral part in the Australian schooling system, they provide support to teachers, parents and students. Part of their care includes; counseling students, assisting parents/guardians to make informed decisions about their child's education, both learning and behavioral. Assist schools and parents in assessing disabilities and liaise with outside agencies to provide the best support for schools, teachers, students and parents.


Austria mandates school counseling at the high school level.


The Bahamas mandate school counseling.


Although not mandated, there is some school counseling done in schools and in community centers in the three regions of the country.


Botswana mandates school counseling.


In Canada, most provinces have adapted K-12 comprehensive school counseling programs similar to those initiated by and adapted in the ASCA National Model. School counselors reported in 2004 at a conference in Winnipeg on issues such as budget cuts, lack of clarity about school counselor roles, high student to school counselor ratios, especially in elementary schools, and how using a comprehensive school counseling model helped to clarify school counselor roles with teachers and administrators and strengthen the profession. In 2009, The Canadian Counselling Association (CCA) became the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). Three Canadian provinces require school counseling.

CCPA established a page dedicated to the specific needs of Parenting, Children, and the Classroom called Counselling Connect located at


China has put substantial financial resources into school counseling with strong growth in urban areas but less than 1% of rural students receiving it; China does not mandate school counseling.

In China, discussed the main influences on school counseling as being Chinese philosophers Confucius and Lao-Tsu, who provided early models of child and adult development that later influenced the work of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.

Only 15% of high school students are admitted to college in China, so the entrance exams are fiercely competitive and those who do enter university graduate at a rate of 99%. Much pressure is put on children and adolescents to study and be able to attend college and this pressure is a central school counseling focus in China. An additional stressor is that there are not enough places for students to attend college, and over 1/3 of college graduates cannot find jobs, so career and employment counseling and development are central in school counseling.

There is a stigma related to personal or emotional problems and even though most universities and many schools now have counselors, there is a reluctance by many students to seek counseling for issues such as anxiety and depression. There is no national system of certifying school counselors. Most are trained in Western-developed cognitive methods including REBT, Rogerian, Family Systems, Behavior Modification, and Object Relations and also recommend Chinese methods such as qi-gong (deep breathing), acupuncture, and music therapy. shared that Chinese school counselors always work within a traditional Chinese world view of a community and family-based system that lessens the primacy of focus on the individual. In Hong Kong, Hui (2000) discussed work on moving toward comprehensive whole-school counseling programs and away from a remediation-style model.

Middle school students are the priority for school counseling services in China.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica mandates school counseling.


School counseling is only available in certain schools.


In 1991 Cyprus mandated school counseling with a goal of 60 students to every school counselor and one full-time school counselor for every high school although neither of these goals has been accomplished fully.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic mandates school counseling.


Denmark mandates school counseling.


School counseling services are delivered by school psychologists with a ratio of 1 school psychologist to every 3,080 students.


School counseling is only available in certain schools.


In Finland, legislation has been passed in terms of the school counseling system. The Basic Education Act of 1998 states that every student must receive school counseling services. All Finnish school counselors must have a teaching certificate as well as master's degree in a specific subject and a specialized certificate in school counseling. Finland has a school counselor to student ratio of 1:245.


France mandates school counseling in high schools.


Gambia mandates school counseling.


The school counselor to student ratio in Georgia is 1:615.


One German state requires school counseling at all levels but high school counseling is established in all states.


Ghana mandates school counseling


There are provisions for academic and career counseling in middle and high schools but school counseling is not mandated and emotional/mental health counseling is done in community agencies.


This was first established by a team of researchers at the Athens University of Economics & Business (ASOEE) in 1993, under the leadership of Professor Emmanuel J. Yannakoudakis, Professor of Computer Science). The team received funding under the European Union (PETRA II Programme): The establishment of a national occupational guidance resources centre, 1993-1994. The team of Professor Yannakoudakis also organised a series of seminars and lectures to train the first occupational guidance counsellors in Greece between 1993 – 1994.

Further research projects at the Athens University of Economics & Business were carried as part of the European Union (LEONARDO Programme): a) A pilot project on the use of multimedia for career analysis, 1995-1999, b) Guidance towards the future, 1995-1999, c) On the move guidance system, 1996-2001 (this project was praised as «one of 200 outstanding projects from the first three years of the Leonardo da Vinci projects»), d) Eurostage for guidance systems, 1996-1999.


School counseling exists at the high school level.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong mandates school counseling.


Iceland mandates school counseling.


In India, Central Board of Secondary Education guidelines expect one school counselor will be appointed for every affiliated school, but this is less than 3% of all Indian students attending public schools. Confluence Educational Services Private Limited is into School Counselling services.


Indonesia mandates school counseling only in middle and high school.


Middle school students are the priority for school counseling in Iran and it is mandated in high schools but there are not enough school counselors particularly in rural areas.


In Ireland, school counseling began in County Dublin in the 1960s and went countrywide in the 1970s. However, legislation in the early 1980s severely curtailed the movement due to budget constraints. The main organization for school counseling profession is the IGC or Institute of Guidance Counsellors, which has a code of ethics.


In Israel, a 2005 study by Erhard & Harel of 600 elementary, middle, and high school counselors found that a third of school counselors were delivering primarily traditional individual counseling services, about a third were delivering preventive classroom counseling curriculum lessons, and a third were delivering both individual counseling services and school counseling curriculum lessons in a more balanced or comprehensive developmental school counseling program; school counselor roles varied due to three elements: the school counselor's personal preferences, school level, and the principal's expectations. Erhard & Harel stated that the profession in Israel, like many other countries, is transforming from various marginal and ancillary services to a comprehensive school counseling approach integral in the total school's education program. in 2011-12, Israel had a school counselor to student ratio of 1:570


School counseling is not well developed in Italy.


In Japan, school counseling is a very recent phenomenon with school counselors being introduced only in the mid-1990s and then often only part-time with a strong emphasis on assisting with behavioral issues. Middle school students are the priority for school counseling in Japan and it is mandated.


Jordan mandates school counseling having 1,950 school counselors working in 2011-12.


School counseling was introduced in Latvia in 1929 but disappeared in World War II.


In Lebanon, the government sponsored the first training of school counselors for public elementary and middle schools in 1996. There are now school counselors in about 1/5 of the elementary and middle schools in Lebanon and none in the high schools. They have been trained in delivering preventive, developmental, and remedial services. Private schools have some school counselors serving all grade levels but the focus is exclusively individual counseling and primarily remedial. Challenges include regular violence and wartime strife and not enough resources and a lack of a professional school counseling organization, assignment of school counselors to cover more than one school at a time, and only two school counseling graduate programs in the country. Last, for persons trained in Western models of school counseling there are dangers of overlooking unique cultural and family aspects of Lebanese society.


School counseling was introduced in 1931 but disappeared during World War II.


Macau mandates school counseling.


Malaysia mandates school counseling only in middle/high school.


In Malta, school counseling services began in 1968 in the Department of Education based on recommendations from a UNESCO consultant and used these titles: Education Officer, School Counsellor, and Guidance Teacher. Through the 1990s they included school counselor positions in primary and trade schools in addition to secondary schools. Guidance teachers are mandated at a 1:300 teacher to student ratio. Malta mandates school counseling.


Nepal mandates school counseling.

New Zealand

New Zealand mandates school counseling but since 1988 when education was decentralized, there has been a perceived decline in the prevalence of school counselors and the quality and service delivery of school counseling.


In Nigeria, school counseling began in 1959 and exists in some high schools. It rarely exists at the elementary school level. Where there are federally funded secondary schools, there are some professionally trained school counselors. However, in many cases, there are only teachers who function as career masters/mistresses. School counselors often have teaching and other responsibilities that take time away from their school counseling tasks. The Counseling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) was formed in 1976 to promote the profession, but there is no code of ethics. However, a certification/licensure board has been formed. Aluede, Adomeh, & Afen-Akpaida (2004) discussed the overreliance on textbooks from the USA and the need for school counselors in Nigeria to take a whole-school approach and lessen the focus on individual approaches and honor the traditional African world view that values the family and community's roles in decision-making as paramount for effective decision-making in schools.


Norway mandates school counseling.


There is some evidence of school counseling services at the high school level.


The Philippines mandates school counseling in middle and high school. The Congress of the Philippines passed the Guidance and Counseling Act of 2004, with a specific focus on Professional Practice, Ethics, National Certification, and the creation of a Regulatory Body, and specialists in school counseling are subject to this law.


School counseling was introduced in 1918 but disappeared during World War II.


Portugal mandates school counseling at the high school level.


Romania mandates school counseling.


School counseling has focused primarily on trauma-based counseling

Saudi Arabia

School counseling is developing in Saudi Arabia. In 2010, 90% of high schools had some type of school counseling service.


School counseling is available only in certain schools.


Singapore mandates school counseling.


Slovakia mandates school counseling.

South Korea

In South Korea, school counselors must teach a subject besides counseling, and not all school counselors are appointed to counseling positions, even though Korean law requires school counselors in all middle and high schools.


Spain provides school counseling at the high school level although it is unclear if it is mandated.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts mandates school counseling.


Sweden mandates school counseling.

In Sweden the school counselors work was divided to two work-groups in the 1970. The workgroups are called "Kurator" and "studie- och yrkesvägledare". They both work with communication methodology but the Kurator's work is more therapeutic often psychological and social problems in schools, and the studie- och yrkesvägledare's work is more future focused with educational and vocational guidance. Studie- och yrkesvägledaren can work in primary, secondary, adult education, higher education and various training centers and most have a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Study and Career Guidance.


School counseling is found at the high school level.


School counseling has focused primarily on trauma-based counseling of students that prior to the war was done in schools but is now found in either in a school club or refugee camp sponsored and staffed by UNICEF.


In Taiwan, school counseling traditionally was done by "guidance teachers." Recent advocacy by the Chinese Guidance and Counseling Association pushed for licensure for school counselors in Taiwan's public schools. Prior to this time, the focus had been primarily individual and group counseling, play therapy, career counseling and development, and stress related to national university examinations.


Tanzania mandates school counseling


The Thai government has put substantial funding into school counseling but does not mandate it.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago mandate school counseling.


Turkey mandates school counseling and is well-established in all schools.


Uganda mandates school counseling.

United Arab Emirates

There is some evidence of school counseling at the high school level in the United Arab Emirates.

United Kingdom

School counseling originated in the UK to support underachieving students and involved specialist training for teachers. Two UK countries require school counseling.

United States

In the United States, the school counseling profession began with the vocational guidance movement at the beginning of the 20th century now known as career development. Jesse B. Davis was the first to provide a systematic school guidance program. In 1907, he became the principal of a high school and encouraged the school English teachers to use compositions and lessons to relate career interests, develop character, and avoid behavioral problems. Many others during this time also focused on what is now called career development. For example, in 1908, Frank Parsons, "Father of Vocational Guidance" established the Bureau of Vocational Guidance to assist young people in making the transition from school to work.

From the 1920s to the 1930s, school counseling grew because of the rise of progressive education in schools. This movement emphasized personal, social, moral development. Many schools reacted to this movement as anti-educational, saying that schools should teach only the fundamentals of education. This, combined with the economic hardship of the Great Depression, led to a decline in school counseling. In the 1940s, psychologists and counselors selected, recruited, and trained military personnel. This propelled the school counseling movement in schools by providing ways to test students and meet their needs. Schools accepted these military tests openly. Also, Carl Rogers' emphasis on helping relationships and a move away from directive "guidance" to nondirective or person-centered "counseling" influenced the profession of school counseling.

In the 1950s the government established the Guidance and Personnel Services Section in the Division of State and Local School Systems. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I. Out of concern that the Russians were winning the space race and that there were not enough scientists and mathematicians, the government passed the National Defense Education Act, spurring growth in vocational counseling through larger funding. In the 1960s, new legislation and professional developments refined the school counseling profession (Schmidt, 2003).

The 1960s was also a time of great federal funding for land grant colleges and universities in establishing Counselor Education programs. School counseling shifted from an exclusive focus on career development and added personal and social issues paralleling the rise of social justice and civil rights movements. In the early 1970s, Dr. Norm Gysbers began shifting the profession from school counselors as solitary professionals into having a comprehensive developmental school counseling program for all students K-12. He and his colleagues' research evidenced strong correlations between fully implemented school counseling programs and student academic success; a critical part of the evidence base for the profession based on their work in the state of Missouri. Dr. Chris Sink & associates showed similar evidence-based success for school counseling programs at the elementary and middle school levels in Washington State.

But school counseling in the 1980s and early 1990s was absent from educational reform efforts. The profession was facing irrelevance as the standards-based educational movement gained strength with little evidence of systemic effectiveness for school counselors. In response, consulted with elementary, middle, and high school counselors and created the ASCA Student Standards with three core domains (Academic, Career, Personal/Social), nine standards, and specific competencies and indicators for K-12 students. A year later, the first systemic meta-analysis of school counseling was published focused on outcome research in academic, career, and personal/social domains.

In the late 1990s, a former mathematics teacher, school counselor, and administrator, Pat Martin, was hired by The Education Trust to focus the school counseling profession on closing the achievement gap that harmed children and adolescents of color, poor and working class children and adolescents, bilingual children and adolescents and children and adolescents with disabilities. Martin developed focus groups of K-12 students, parents, guardians, teachers, building leaders, and superintendents, and interviewed professors of School Counselor Education. She hired a school counselor educator from Oregon State University, Dr. Reese House, and they co-created what emerged in 2003 as the National Center for Transforming School Counseling (NCTSC).

The NCTSC focused on both changing school counselor education at the graduate level and changing school counselor practice in local districts to teach school counselors how to prevent, intervene with, and close achievement and opportunity gaps. In the focus groups, they found what Hart & Jacobi had indicated—-too many school counselors were gatekeepers for the status quo instead of advocates for the academic success of every child and adolescent. Too many school counselors used inequitable practices, supported inequitable school policies, and were unwilling to change.

This professional behavior kept many students from non-dominant backgrounds (i.e., students of color, poor and working class students, students with disabilities, and bilingual students) from getting the rigorous coursework and academic, career, and college access skills needed to successfully graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary options including college. They funded six $500,000 grants for six Counselor Education/School Counseling programs, with a special focus on rural and urban settings, to transform their school counseling programs to include a focus on teaching school counselor candidates advocacy, leadership, teaming and collaboration, equity assessment using data, and culturally competent program counseling and coordination in 1998 (Indiana State University, University of Georgia, University of West Georgia, University of California-Northridge, University of North Florida, and Ohio State University) and then over 25 other Counselor Education/School Counseling programs joined as companion institutions in the following decade. By 2008, NCTSC consultants had worked in over 100 school districts and major cities and rural areas to transform the work of school counselors.

In 2002, the American School Counselor Association released the first edition of the ASCA National Model: A framework for school counseling programs, written by Dr. Trish Hatch and Dr. Judy Bowers (2003), comprising key school counseling components: the work of Drs. Norm Gysbers, Curly & Sharon Johnson, Robert Myrick, Carol Dahir & Cheri Campbell's ASCA National Standards, and the skill-based focus for closing achievement and opportunity gaps from the Education Trust's Pat Martin and Dr. Reese House into one document. In 2003, the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation (CSCORE) was developed as a clearinghouse for evidence-based practice with regular research briefs disseminated and original research projects developed and implemented with founding director Dr. Jay Carey. One of the research fellows, Dr. Tim Poynton, developed the EZAnalyze software program for all school counselors to use as free-ware to assist in using data-based interventions and decision-making.

In 2004, the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors was revised to focus on issues of equity, closing achievement and opportunity gaps, and ensuring all K-12 students received access to a school counseling program. Also in 2004, Pat Martin moved to the College Board and hired School Counselor Educator Dr. Vivian Lee. They developed an equity-focused entity on school counselors' role in college readiness and admission counseling, the National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA). NOSCA developed research scholarships for research on college counseling by K-12 school counselors and how it is taught in School Counselor Education programs.

On January 1, 2006, the USA Congress declared the first week of February National School Counseling Week, which grew out of advocacy from ASCA members.

In 2008, the first NOSCA study was released by Dr. Jay Carey and colleagues focused on innovations in selected College Board "Inspiration Award" schools where school counselors collaborated inside and outside their schools for high college-going rates and strong college-going cultures in schools with large numbers of students of non-dominant backgrounds. In 2008, ASCA released School Counseling Competencies focused on assisting school counseling programs to effectively implement the ASCA Model.

Also in 2008, in support of the ASCA Model and new vision school counseling, Dr. Rita Schellenberg introduced standards blending as a cross-walking approach to align school counseling with the academic achievement mission of schools as well as two data-based reporting systems, SCORE and SCOPE.

In 2009, NOSCA released a national study under the leadership of Dr. Vicki Brooks-McNamara addressing the school counselor/principal connection with specific recommendations for best practices in collaborative leadership in school counseling.

In 2010, the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCAL) co-sponsored the first school counselor and educator conference devoted to the needs of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender students in San Diego, California.

In 2011, Counseling at the Crossroads: The perspectives and promise of school counselors in American education, the largest survey of high school and middle school counselors in the United States (over 5,300 interviews), was released by the College Board's National Office for School Counselor Advocacy, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the American School Counselor Association. The study shared school counselors' views on educational policies, practices, and reform, and how many of them, especially in urban and rural school settings, are not given the chance to focus on what they were trained to do, especially career and college access counseling and readiness for all students, in part due to high caseloads and inappropriate tasks that take up too much of their time. School counselors made strong suggestions about their crucial role in accountability and success for all students and how school systems need to change so that school counselors can be key players in student success. Implications for public policy and district and school-wide change are addressed. The National Center for Transforming School Counseling at The Education Trust released a brief, Poised to Lead: How School Counselors Can Drive Career and College Readiness, challenging all schools to utilize school counselors for equity and access for rigorous courses for all students and ensuring college and career access skills and competencies be a major focus of the work of school counselors K-12.

In 2012, the CSCORE assisted in evaluating and publishing six statewide research studies assessing the effectiveness of school counseling programs based on statewide systemic use of school counseling programs such as the ASCA National Model and their outcomes in Professional School Counseling. Research indicated strong correlational evidence between lower school counseling ratios and better student success academically, in terms of career and college access/readiness/admission, and for various personal/social issues including school safety, reduced disciplinary issues, and better attendance in schools with fully implemented school counseling programs.

Also in 2012, the American School Counselor Association released the third edition of the ASCA National Model. Also, the National Center for Transforming School Counseling (NCTSC) created a School Counselor Educator Coalition to further transform graduate School Counselor Education programs in the new vision of school counseling for K-12 school counselors. Twenty universities were represented and four School Counselor Educator faculty mentors were named: Dr. Carolyn Stone, University of North Florida, Dr. Trish Hatch, San Diego State University, Dr. Stuart Chen-Hayes, City University of New York/Lehman College, and Dr. Erin Mason, DePaul University.

In 2013, Northern Kentucky University and the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation (CSCORE) launched an annual Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference with specific strands for school counselors, building and district leaders, and school counselor educators


School counseling is mandated in Venezuela and it has focused on cultural competency.


School counseling is mandated in Vietnam.

Roles, school counseling programs, associations, and ethics

Professional school counselors ideally implement a school counseling program that promotes and enhances student achievement (Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005; ASCA, 2012). A framework for appropriate and inappropriate school counselor responsibilities and roles is outlined in the ASCA National Model (Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005; ASCA, 2012). School counselors, in most USA states, usually have a master's degree in school counseling from a Counselor Education graduate program. In Canada, they must be licensed teachers with additional school counseling training and focus on academic, career, and personal/social issues. China requires at least three years of college experience. In Japan, school counselors were added in the mid-1990s, part-time, primarily focused on behavioral issues. In Taiwan, they are often teachers with recent legislation requiring school counseling licensure focused on individual and group counseling for academic, career, and personal issues. In Korea, school counselors are mandated in middle and high schools.

School counselors are employed in elementary, middle, and high schools, and in district supervisory settings and in counselor education faculty positions (usually with an earned Ph.D. in Counselor Education in the USA or related graduate doctorates abroad), and post-secondary settings doing academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social counseling, consultation, and program coordination. Their work includes a focus on developmental stages of student growth, including the needs, tasks, and student interests related to those stages(Schmidt, 2003).

Professional school counselors meet the needs of student in three basic domains: academic development, career development, and personal/social development (Dahir & Campbell, 1997; Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005; ASCA, 2012) with an increased emphasis on college access. Knowledge, understanding and skill in these domains are developed through classroom instruction, appraisal, consultation, counseling, coordination, and collaboration. For example, in appraisal, school counselors may use a variety of personality and career assessment methods (such as the or (based on the) to help students explore career and college needs and interests.

School counselor interventions include individual and group counseling for some students. For example, if a student's behavior is interfering with his or her achievement, the school counselor may observe that student in a class, provide consultation to teachers and other stakeholders to develop (with the student) a plan to address the behavioral issue(s), and then collaborate to implement and evaluate the plan. They also provide consultation services to family members such as college access, career development, parenting skills, study skills, child and adolescent development, and help with school-home transitions.

School counselor interventions for all students include annual academic/career/college access planning K-12 and leading classroom developmental lessons on academic, career/college, and personal/social topics. The topics of character education, diversity and multiculturalism (Portman, 2009), and school safety are important areas of focus for school counselors. Often school counselors will coordinate outside groups that wish to help with student needs such as academics, or coordinate a program that teaches about child abuse or drugs, through on-stage drama (Schmidt, 2003).

School counselors develop, implement, and evaluate school counseling programs that deliver academic, career, college access, and personal/social competencies to all students in their schools. For example, the ASCA National Model (Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005; ASCA, 2012) includes the following four main areas:

  • Foundation - a school counseling program mission statement, a beliefs/vision statement, SMART Goals; ASCA Student Standards & ASCA Code of Ethics;
  • Delivery System - how school counseling core curriculum lessons, planning for every student, and individual and group counseling are delivered in direct and indirect services to students (80% of school counselor time);
  • Management System - calendars; use of data tool; use of time tool; administrator-school counselor agreement; advisory council; small group, school counseling core curriculum, and closing the gap action plans; and
  • Accountability System - school counseling program assessment; small group, school counseling core curriculum, and closing-the-gap results reports; and school counselor performance evaluations based on school counselor competencies.
  • The model (ASCA, 2012) is implemented using key skills from the Education Trust's Transforming School Counseling Initiative: Advocacy, Leadership, Teaming and Collaboration, and Systemic Change.

    School Counselors are expected to follow a professional code of ethics in many countries. For example, In the USA, they are the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor Ethical Code, the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics., and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).

    School Counselors around the world are affiliated with various national and regional school counseling associations, and must abide by their guideline. These associations include:

  • African Counseling Association (AfCA)
  • Asociacion Argentina de Counselors (AAC-Argentina)
  • Associacao Portuguesa de Psicoterapia centrada na Pessoa e de Counselling (APPCPC-Portugal)
  • Australian Guidance and Counselling Association (AGCA)
  • Canadian Counseling Association (CCA)/Association Canadienne de Counseling (ACC)
  • Hong Kong Association of Guidance Masters and Career Masters (HKAGMCM)
  • Cypriot Association of School Guidance Counsellors (OELMEK)
  • European Counseling Association (ECA)
  • France Ministry of Education
  • Hellenic Society of Counselling and Guidance (HESCOG-Greece)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • International Vanguard of Counsellors (IVC)
  • International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG)
  • Association Internationale d'Orientation Scolaire et Professionnelle (AIOSP)
  • Internationale Vereinigung für Schul- und Berufsberatung (IVSBB)
  • Asociación Internacional para la Orientación Educativa y Profesional(AIOEP)
  • Institute of Guidance Counselors (IGC) (Ireland)
  • Kenya Association of Professional Counselors (KAPC)
  • Department of Education-Malta
  • New Zealand Association of Counsellors/Te Roopu Kaiwhiriwhiri o Aotearoa (NZAC)
  • Counseling Association of Nigeria (CASSON)
  • Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association (PGCA)
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA)
  • Singapore Association for Counseling (SAC)
  • Federacion Espanola de Orientacion y Psicopedagogia (FEOP-Spain)
  • the Taiwan Guidance and Counseling Association (TGCA)
  • Counselling Children and Young People (BACP affiliate, UK)
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP-UK)
  • American Counseling Association (ACA-USA)
  • American School Counselor Association (ASCA-USA)
  • Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership(CESCaL) (USA)
  • Center for School Counseling Outcome Research (CSCOR-USA) Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP-USA and international)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC, USA)
  • National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA) at The College Board (USA)
  • National Center for Transforming School Counseling (NCTSC) at The Education Trust (USA)
  • Overseas Association of College Admissions Counselors (OACAC an affiliate of National Association of College Admissions Counselors-USA)
  • Elementary school counseling

    Elementary school counselors provide academic, career, college access, and personal and social competencies and planning to all students, and individual and group counseling for some students and their families to meet the developmental needs of young children K-6. Transitions from pre-school to elementary school and from elementary school to middle school are an important focus for elementary school counselors. Increased emphasis is placed on accountability for closing achievement and opportunity gaps at the elementary level as more school counseling programs move to evidence-based work with data and specific results.

    School counseling programs that deliver specific competencies to all students help to close achievement and opportunity gaps. To facilitate individual and group school counseling interventions, school counselors use developmental, cognitive-behavioral, person-centered (Rogerian) listening and influencing skills, systemic, family, multicultural, narrative, and play therapy theories and techniques. released a research study showing the effectiveness of elementary school counseling programs in Washington state.

    Middle school counseling

    Middle school counselors provide school counseling curriculum lessons on academic, career, college access, and personal and social competencies, advising and academic/career/college access planning to all students and individual and group counseling for some students and their families to meet the needs of older children/early adolescents in grades 7 and 8.

    Middle School College Access curricula have been developed by The College Board to assist students and their families well before reaching high school. To facilitate the school counseling process, school counselors use theories and techniques including developmental, cognitive-behavioral, person-centered (Rogerian) listening and influencing skills, systemic, family, multicultural, narrative, and play therapy. Transitional issues to ensure successful transitions to high school are a key area including career exploration and assessment with seventh and eighth grade students. Sink, Akos, Turnbull, & Mvududu released a study in 2008 confirming the effectiveness of middle school comprehensive school counseling programs in Washington state.

    High school counseling

    High school counselors provide academic, career, college access, and personal and social competencies with developmental classroom lessons and planning to all students, and individual and group counseling for some students and their families to meet the developmental needs of adolescents (Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005, 2012). Emphasis is on college access counseling at the early high school level as more school counseling programs move to evidence-based work with data and specific results that show how school counseling programs help to close achievement, opportunity, and attainment gaps ensuring all students have access to school counseling programs and early college access activities. The breadth of demands high school counselors face, from educational attainment (high school graduation and some students' preparation for careers and college) to student social and mental health, has led to ambiguous role definition. Summarizing a 2011 national survey of more than 5,300 middle school and high school counselors, researchers argued: "Despite the aspirations of counselors to effectively help students succeed in school and fulfill their dreams, the mission and roles of counselors in the education system must be more clearly defined; schools must create measures of accountability to track their effectiveness; and policymakers and key stakeholders must integrate counselors into reform efforts to maximize their impact in schools across America".

    Transitional issues to ensure successful transitions to college, other post-secondary educational options, and careers are a key area. The high school counselor helps students and their families prepare for post-secondary education including college and careers (e.g. college, careers) by engaging students and their families in accessing and evaluating accurate information on what the National Office for School Counselor Advocacy calls the 8 essential elements of college and career counseling: (1) College Aspirations, (2) Academic Planning for Career and College Readiness, (3) Enrichment and Extracurricular Engagement, (4) College and Career Exploration and Selection Processes, (5) College and Career Assessments, (6) College Affordability Planning, (7) College and Career Admission Processes, and (8) Transition from High School Graduation to College Enrollment. Some students turn to private college admissions advisors but there is no research evidence that private college admissions advisors have any effectiveness in assisting students attain selective college admissions.

    Lapan, Gysbers & Sun showed correlational evidence of the effectiveness of fully implemented school counseling programs on high school students' academic success. Carey et al.'s 2008 study showed specific best practices from high school counselors raising college-going rates within a strong college-going environment in multiple USA-based high schools with large numbers of students of nondominant cultural identities.

    Education credentials and certification

    The education of school counselors (school counsellors) around the world varies based on the laws and cultures of countries and the historical influences of their educational and credentialing systems and professional identities related to who delivers academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social information, advising, curriculum, and counseling and related services.

    In Canada, school counselors must be certified teachers with additional school counseling training.

    In China, there is no national certification or licensure system for school counselors.

    Korea requires school counselors in all middle and high schools.

    In the Philippines, school counselors must be licensed with a master's degree in counseling.

    Taiwan instituted school counselor licensure for public schools (2006) through advocacy from the

    In the USA, a school counselor is a certified educator with a master's degree in school counseling (usually from a Counselor Education graduate program) with school counseling graduate training including qualifications and skills to address all students’ academic, career, college access and personal/social needs. Once you have completed your master's degree you can take one of 2 certification options in order to become fully licensed as a professional school counselor.

    About half of all Counselor Education programs that offer school counseling are accredited by the Council on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and all are in the USA with one in Canada. In 2010 one was under review in Mexico. CACREP maintains a current list of accredited programs and programs in the accreditation process on their website. CACREP desires to accredit more international counseling university programs.

    According to CACREP, an accredited school counseling program offers coursework in Professional Identity and Ethics, Human Development, Counseling Theories, Group Work, Career Counseling, Multicultural Counseling, Assessment, Research and Program Evaluation, and Clinical Coursework—a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship under supervision of a school counseling faculty member and a certified school counselor site supervisor (CACREP, 2001).

    When CACREP released the 2009 Standards, the accreditation process became performance-based including evidence of school counselor candidate learning outcomes. In addition, CACREP tightened the school counseling standards with specific evidence needed for how school counseling students receive education in foundations; counseling prevention and intervention; diversity and advocacy; assessment; research and evaluation; academic development; collaboration and consultation; and leadership in K-12 school counseling contexts.

    Certification practices for school counselors vary around the world. School counselors in the USA may opt for national certification through two different boards. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) requires a two-to-three year process of performance based assessment, and demonstrate (in writing) content knowledge in human growth/development, diverse populations, school counseling programs, theories, data, and change and collaboration. In February 2005, 30 states offered financial incentives for this certification.

    Also in the USA, The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) requires passing the National Certified School Counselor Examination (NCSC), including 40 multiple choice questions and seven simulated cases assessing school counselors' abilities to make critical decisions. Additionally, a master's degree and three years of supervised experience are required. NBPTS also requires three years of experience, however state certification is required (41 of 50 states require a master's degree). At least four states offer financial incentives for the NCSC certification.

    Job growth and earnings

    The rate of job growth and earnings for school counselors depends on the country that one is employed in and how the school is funded—public or independent. School counselors working in international schools or "American" schools globally may find similar work environments and expectations to the USA. School counselor pay varies based on school counselor roles, identity, expectations, and legal and certification requirements and expectations of each country. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the median salary for school counselors in the USA in 2010 was (USD) $53,380 or $25.67 hourly. According to an infographic designed by Wake Forest University, the median salary of school counselors in the US was $43,690. The USA has 267,000 employees in titles such as School Counselor or related titles in education and advising and college and career counseling. The projected growth for school counselors is 14-19% or faster than average than other occupations in the USA with a predicted 94,000 job openings from 2008-2018. " In Australia, a survey by the Australian Guidance and Counseling Association found that school counselor salary ranged from (AUD) the high 50,000s to the mid 80,000s.

    Among all counseling specialty areas, public elementary, middle and high school counselors are (2009) paid the highest salary on average of all counselors. Budget cuts, however, have affected placement of public school counselors in Canada, Ireland, the United States, and other countries due to the global recession in recent years. In the United States, rural areas and urban areas traditionally have been under-served by school counselors in public schools due to both funding shortages and often a lack of best practice models. With the advent of No Child Left Behind legislation in the USA and a mandate for school counselors to be working with data and showing evidence-based practice, school counselors able to show and share results in assisting to close gaps are in the best position to argue for increased school counseling resources and positions for their programs (Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005; ASCA, 2012).

    Notable school counselors

  • Fernando Cabrera, USA politician
  • Ern Condon, Canadian politician
  • Derrick Dalley, Canadian politician
  • François Gendron, Canadian politician
  • Steve Lindberg, USA politician
  • Lillian Ortiz-Self, USA politician
  • Tony Resch, USA lacrosse player
  • Tom Tillberry, USA politician
  • Tom Villa, USA politician
  • References

    School counselor Wikipedia